Patriots

Bill Belichick's awkward postgame handshake with Bill O'Brien raises eyebrows

Bill Belichick's awkward postgame handshake with Bill O'Brien raises eyebrows

While New England was mired in the middle of the first major winter storm of the season, the real icy behavior was about 1,800 miles away.

After the Texans dominated the Patriots all night en route to a 28-22 victory, Bill Belichick and Bill O'Brien had a blink-and-you'll-miss-it handshake (if you can call it that) at midfield.

Was the brief exchange because Belichick was annoyed at how his team had played? Or are there lingering bad feelings from last offseason, when the Texans tried to hire Nick Caserio, leading to formal tampering charges from the Patriots?

"I think something's going on. I mean, c'mon," said Ted Johnson on NBC Sports Boston's Postgame Live show. "Something's there because that's not a normal exchange right there if you actually respect a guy and you're friends with a guy, which I always assumed they were. I've always been led to believe that Billy O'Brien and Belichick are friendly with each other. But that to me right there, Belichick blew him off."

Belichick had said the Caserio situation was "in the past" when asked about it last week, but NBC Sports Boston's Phil Perry referenced it when discussing the handshake,

"That was fast. We played the handshake twice and it took about the length of time as half of a normal handshake. I think it's probably a combination of things... there were tampering charges filed, this was a formal complaint on the Patriots' part. That is on record, so it wouldn't shock me if that had something to do with it."

But former Patriots quarterback Matt Cassel had a much simpler explanation when offering his thoughts on the handshake, especially considering the Patriots had just gotten shellacked in a 28-22 game that wasn't nearly as close as the final score indicated. 

"I don't think (Belichick) is a very good loser. He doesn't lose much, and when he does, you gives a little quick handshake and he's out," Cassel said. "But you know what? When he beats a lot of these former employees, he goes up, gives them a big hug, there's more love there. But when he loses, he's not a happy customer, that's just part of the deal."

Twitter reaction to the handshake covered both the sore loser and tampering aspects.

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Patriots-Bengals Preview from Tom E. Curran: No cinch in Cincy

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AP Images

Patriots-Bengals Preview from Tom E. Curran: No cinch in Cincy

Here we have two teams at opposite ends of the food chain. The 10-3 Patriots and the 1-12 Bengals. Unfortunately, they have one thing in common. Neither one scores much. The Bengals high for the season is 23 points and that was in Week 4. They’ve only scored more than 20 points twice. 

The Patriots have scored fewer than three offensive touchdowns in five out of six games and the lone game they scored three – in Houston – two came in the very late stages after falling behind 21-3. So this game has the potential to look like a Patriots-Bengals from the not-so-distant past. Not the “On to Cincinnati” game people remember from 2014, but the ugly slog in the rain a year earlier when the Patriots lost 13-6 at Cincy. 

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So many elements are the same now for the Patriots offense – limited talent at wideout and a lack of protection up front. 

Because of the Patriots' offensive struggles, what seemed for months like a simple walkover has the potential to be uncomfortably competitive.

 

 

Let the Terrell Suggs speculation begin: Ravens reunion? Patriots pickup?

Let the Terrell Suggs speculation begin: Ravens reunion? Patriots pickup?

Could the Patriots be seeing a familiar, old rival in the playoffs? Or could they be seeing him on their own defense for their playoff run?

The Arizona Cardinals released longtime Pats nemesis Terrell Suggs, 37, on Friday and he'll be on waivers until Monday. While the Patriots, at 10-3, are far down on the waiver list to claim him, the former Pro Bowl linebacker's old team, the Baltimore Ravens, with the NFL's best record at 12-2, are last in line, so a potential reunion appears to be a long shot.

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If he goes unclaimed, he'll be a free agent, calling to mind two years ago when the Pats snapped up pass rusher James Harrison, then 39, after Harrison passed through waivers following his release from the Steelers. 

While it's not the Patriots defense, but an offense that hasn't scored more than 20 points in a game since Halloween, that could use a boost this season, the idea of the guy who once refused to say Tom Brady's name (he'd call him "the pretty boy up north") surfacing in New England was too good to resist for a couple of ex-players: